Newly painted walls, white tile floors and revamped bathrooms now welcome shoppers at Orangeburg’s Belk.

“The refresh shows Orangeburg that we’re here to stay,” store spokeswoman Kailey Miller said.

“Belk has been a fixture in Orangeburg for nearly 90 years, so we owe the community a great deal. The refresh … is a small token of our appreciation,” she said.

Located within the Prince of Orange Mall, the store celebrated a grand re-opening on Thursday morning. The event included a ribbon-cutting and remarks from local government officials about the store’s long history in the Orangeburg community.

Williams Henry Belk opened his first store in Monroe, N.C. in 1888.

The store first arrived in Orangeburg in May 1931. It was initially located on Russell Street.

It opened at its present location in 1984.

Miller said the Orangeburg renovations are part of a larger effort. The company has renovated 15 stores this year and will do a couple dozen next year.

“There has been $40 million invested in all of our stores across our 16-state footprint,” Miller said.

As part of the grand reopening, the first 100 customers received a gift card worth between $5 and $500, as well as a chance to register to win prizes. Refreshments were also served.

During the event, Belk presented a check for $1,000 to CASA Family Systems. CASA has worked to prevent violence of all types in the community for the past two decades.

State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, CASA’s chief executive officer, thanked Belk for all it does to show appreciation for its customers and the surrounding community.

“We are thrilled to be here as part of the re-opening ceremony and especially pleased that the Belk corporation saw fit to contribute to CASA Family Systems to help us with the work we do dealing with violence within families,” Cobb-Hunter said.

Belk Regional Vice President Jaime Valdez said Belk has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the City of Orangeburg.

“I want to thank all of our Belk partners for getting us to this point … and thanks to the City of Orangeburg for allowing us to be here and be part of your community,” Valdez said.

Valdez said the company has built its business in partnership with communities.

“As part of a much larger Belk initiative and investment in our communities, we have invested in Orangeburg and have basically rebuilt a brand-new, beautiful store,” Valdez said. “We feel that there’s a big need and we’re meeting it by elevating the service experience.”

Belk Store Manager Amanda Jordan said, “We value and appreciate the clients and the Orangeburg community who have shopped with us year after year so much.

“We just wanted to make sure that we gave back to them and give them that modern, Southern style that they so deserved.”

Sandy Price, director of membership at the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, said, “We want to thank Belk for being a member of the Chamber and putting back into this community.

“The Chamber is all about supporting each other and supporting the community. So we appreciate Belk for putting back into this.”

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler said the city appreciates the efforts that Belk has put into remodeling the store.

“When you see the new renovations, it gives the mall a ray of hope that it will be impressive and attractive as the customers come in to shop,” he said. Butler said the city wants the mall to be able to meet the needs of local shoppers.

“This remodel has kind of given us a push in that direction. At one time, this mall was filled and had a lot of people coming through and it’s our aim and desire to see that happen again,” Butler said.

Vivian Tucker, who has worked at the Orangeburg Belk for nine years, said she is thankful for the upgrade.

“I’m excited. It’s wonderful. It is good when we see things that we prayed for years ago coming to pass. The Lord blessed us. This is a wonderful thing,” she said.

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD.

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